Today, Google revealed their new Android-based payment system, Google Wallet, with the vision to make credit cards a thing of the past. Wallet uses NFC, or “near field communication”, to communicate with tap-to-pay systems at retail merchants nationwide. Upon launch, only the Nexus S (Google’s Google-phone) will be supported, but the Mountain View company will be rolling the feature out to other NFC-capable devices over time.
Google Wallet will be able to store many different payment methods digitally, and information will be protected on a “Secure Element” chip to eliminate identity theft. Like a physical debit card, a 4-digit PIN needs to be entered to make a payment. There are rumors that Apple will be integrating NFC technology into the next-gen iPhone, but the lid is expectedly tight on Apple’s September plans.
Google Wallet has been designed for an open commerce ecosystem. It will eventually hold many if not all of the cards you keep in your leather wallet today. And because Google Wallet is a mobile app, it will be able to do more than a regular wallet ever could, like storing thousands of payment cards and Google Offers but without the bulk. Eventually your loyalty cards, gift cards, receipts, boarding passes, tickets, even your keys will be seamlessly synced to your Google Wallet. And every offer and loyalty point will be redeemed automatically with a single tap via NFC.